Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Soybean oil reduces carbon footprint in swine barns

02.03.2009
One of agriculture's most versatile crops could one day play a role in combating climate change, Purdue University research shows.

In addition to using soybeans in beverages, biofuel, lip balm, crayons, candles and a host of other products, Purdue agricultural engineers Al Heber and Jiqin Ni found that soybean oil reduces greenhouse gas emissions when sprayed inside swine finishing barns.

Heber and Ni led a team of Purdue and University of Missouri researchers in the yearlong project, which monitored the effectiveness of soybean oil on dust and odor within hog facilities. Additional research is needed to address problems with oil spraying and substantiate the study's findings, the researchers said.

"This project provided baseline measurements of the greenhouse gas contributions of swine finishing barns," Heber said. "In addition to the baseline measurements, we now have some data on an abatement technology to reduce the carbon footprint contribution of a pound of pork."

Greenhouse gases are chemical compounds that contribute to the greenhouse effect, a condition in which heat is trapped in the lower atmosphere, producing global warming. In 2005, agricultural practices were responsible for 7.4 percent of total greenhouse gas emissions in the United States, according to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.

The Purdue study was conducted at a northern Missouri farm during a 12-month period ending in July 2003. Oil was sprayed in one of two monitored barns. Each barn housed about 1,100 pigs, Ni said.

The treated barn was sprayed with five cubic centimeters of oil per square meter of floor for one minute per day. The spray system was similar to the spray technology used to treat cropfields with pesticides.

"We tested three different methods of pollution mitigation: soybean oil sprinkling, misting with essential oils, and misting with essential oils and water," Ni said. "Our original intent was to see if those three methods would control dust, as well as odor emissions, ammonia, hydrogen sulfide, methane and carbon dioxide emissions."

Compared with the unsprayed monitored barn, the oil-treated barn showed an average 20 percent decrease in methane emissions and a 19 percent average reduction in carbon dioxide emissions. Methane and carbon dioxide are greenhouse gases.

Dust reduction was even more significant. The treated barn emitted about 65 percent less particulate matter than the untreated barn. Researchers suspected controlling dust also would lead to reduced greenhouse gas escapes, Heber said.

"The spray takes out dust, and since dust carries odor and it absorbs other gases, there was a scientific reason why it might take out those greenhouse gases," Heber said.

"We saw a reduction in odor, but it wasn't statistically significant. That may be because we didn't take enough air samples. All we can say is that there was a trend in odor reduction."

Several challenges stand in the way of using soybean oil in swine barns, including safety, cleaning and the cost of application, Heber said.

"First of all, soybean oil is more expensive now than it was when we did the study," Heber said. "Whereas we thought it would cost less than a dollar per pig marketed to treat the barn - around 60 cents - since then the price of soybean oil has increased dramatically, and so the economics are not as good. Also, the application of oil can create a safety hazard for the producer.

"In addition, some of the oil ended up on the floor, the pigs, the feeders and fans. This makes the cleaning process more difficult. The producer we worked with indicated it took an additional day of power washing to clean that barn. That's an extra expense."

While soybean oil shows promise as a greenhouse gas control agent, it is too early to declare the findings conclusive, Heber and Ni said.

"There are technical problems with this practice, but those may be overcome through good engineering," Heber said.

"We need to do more research to get a better idea of the effectiveness of this technology and its benefit on environmental protection," Ni said.

The oil spraying study appeared in the November-December issue of Journal of Environmental Quality. To read the full paper, "Methane and Carbon Dioxide Emission From Two Pig Finishing Barns," go online to http://jeq.scijournals.org/cgi/reprint/37/6/2001.pdf

Writer: Steve Leer, (765) 494-8415, sleer@purdue.edu
Sources: Al Heber, (765) 494-1214, heber@purdue.edu
Jiqin Ni, (765) 494-1733, jiqin@purdue.edu

Steve Leer | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.purdue.edu

More articles from Studies and Analyses:

nachricht Multi-year study finds 'hotspots' of ammonia over world's major agricultural areas
17.03.2017 | University of Maryland

nachricht Diabetes Drug May Improve Bone Fat-induced Defects of Fracture Healing
17.03.2017 | Deutsches Institut für Ernährungsforschung Potsdam-Rehbrücke

All articles from Studies and Analyses >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: Giant Magnetic Fields in the Universe

Astronomers from Bonn and Tautenburg in Thuringia (Germany) used the 100-m radio telescope at Effelsberg to observe several galaxy clusters. At the edges of these large accumulations of dark matter, stellar systems (galaxies), hot gas, and charged particles, they found magnetic fields that are exceptionally ordered over distances of many million light years. This makes them the most extended magnetic fields in the universe known so far.

The results will be published on March 22 in the journal „Astronomy & Astrophysics“.

Galaxy clusters are the largest gravitationally bound structures in the universe. With a typical extent of about 10 million light years, i.e. 100 times the...

Im Focus: Tracing down linear ubiquitination

Researchers at the Goethe University Frankfurt, together with partners from the University of Tübingen in Germany and Queen Mary University as well as Francis Crick Institute from London (UK) have developed a novel technology to decipher the secret ubiquitin code.

Ubiquitin is a small protein that can be linked to other cellular proteins, thereby controlling and modulating their functions. The attachment occurs in many...

Im Focus: Perovskite edges can be tuned for optoelectronic performance

Layered 2D material improves efficiency for solar cells and LEDs

In the eternal search for next generation high-efficiency solar cells and LEDs, scientists at Los Alamos National Laboratory and their partners are creating...

Im Focus: Polymer-coated silicon nanosheets as alternative to graphene: A perfect team for nanoelectronics

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are less stable. Now researchers at the Technical University of Munich (TUM) have, for the first time ever, produced a composite material combining silicon nanosheets and a polymer that is both UV-resistant and easy to process. This brings the scientists a significant step closer to industrial applications like flexible displays and photosensors.

Silicon nanosheets are thin, two-dimensional layers with exceptional optoelectronic properties very similar to those of graphene. Albeit, the nanosheets are...

Im Focus: Researchers Imitate Molecular Crowding in Cells

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to simulate these confined natural conditions in artificial vesicles for the first time. As reported in the academic journal Small, the results are offering better insight into the development of nanoreactors and artificial organelles.

Enzymes behave differently in a test tube compared with the molecular scrum of a living cell. Chemists from the University of Basel have now been able to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

International Land Use Symposium ILUS 2017: Call for Abstracts and Registration open

20.03.2017 | Event News

CONNECT 2017: International congress on connective tissue

14.03.2017 | Event News

ICTM Conference: Turbine Construction between Big Data and Additive Manufacturing

07.03.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Northern oceans pumped CO2 into the atmosphere

27.03.2017 | Earth Sciences

Fingerprint' technique spots frog populations at risk from pollution

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

Big data approach to predict protein structure

27.03.2017 | Life Sciences

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>